Many scientific conferences have embraced the technological age, creating hashtags for attendees to share content on Twitter and engage with one another. Some conferences even acknowledge attendees with powerful social media presences by giving them special ribbons and including their Twitter handles on their name badges.
But at this year’s meeting of the American Diabetes Association, the conference’s official hashtag was dominated by angry attendees protesting a seemingly old-school policy: attendees were not allowed to post photos from presentations on Twitter.
Some pointed out on Twitter that sharing data online is an important resource for doctors who aren’t able to be at the meeting in person and that encouraging communication among attendees could help spur new research ideas.
The ADA’s official policy claimed that by registering for the conference, attendees gave the ADA the perpetual, global and royalty-free right to record, photograph and use anything from the conference. The policy didn’t sit well with many on Twitter.
Gibson, who has a sizeable online presence, tweeted several times using the conference’s hashtag to express his dissatisfaction with the rule.
Some presenters attempted to circumvent the policy, tweeting that attendees were welcome to take pictures and share their presentations online.
“People come present their data in a public forum because they want to share their research & promote their work, not hide it,” Gibson wrote.